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Fall Menus: Sept Week 2

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, which can be found here.

If you any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!



 

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Vegetarian Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of  garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.

Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten

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  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.

Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.

Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.

You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.

To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.

To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.



 

Summer Menus: July Week Three

JeffreyW’s yummy zucchini and summer squash

A little delayed this weekend. No real excuse, except life, as usual, was a little hectic. Today I went for my first ride in at least a year. Had to test out my bike after the crew that was here to replace my furnace and add energy upgrades, also fixed my bike. Loved those guys.

When I got home, I was startled to find a hawk sitting peacefully in my driveway, awaiting my return. I believe he was a young Cooper’s hawk.

For this week, we are raiding the garden –  Zucchini and Summer Squash Saute featured along with a Family BLT on Monday.

One of JeffreyW’s many BLT photos. Now I’m hungry.

You can find all the menus and recipes here: July Menus Week Three

At least someone has fresh tomatoes…mine are a long way from JeffreyW’s crop.

Click here for the PDF of the shopping lists, July Week Three Shopping List. Reminder that they are color-coordinated and you can easily cross out ingredients you won’t be using.

Technically this is my BBQ pulled pork sandwich, but you get the idea.

Friday’s menu features Slowcooker Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, perfect for those hot mid-summer days when you don’t even want to fire up the grill.

I’ll be out of town next weekend, so next’s recipes could be delayed. I’m a little nervous – first time with the new pet sitter. She seems great and has had Great Danes herself. But I never know if Bixby is going to be a big lovebug or decide to throw his weight around. And fingers crossed Bailey doesn’t decide to eat any more furniture. Crazy dogs.



 

Summer Menus: July Week Two

JeffreyW is the pizza king.

I’ve been busy in the yard today, so this will be short and sweet. For the menus, click here: July Week Two Menus

Tuesday features Adobo Sirloin and Garlic Roasted potatoes.

JeffreyW grills up some garlic potato wedges and steak.

Wednesday serves up a sweet Oatmeal Apple Cookie, along with an easy Tuna Macaroni Salad.

And Friday offers up two quick pizza dough recipes for a family night of Fresh Pizza built with your favorite toppings.

Shopping list is here: July Week Two Shopping List and remember it’s color coordinated so you can easily skip ingredients from the recipes you’re not using.

As always, you can substitute ingredients to suit your own tastes – skip the tuna in the macaroni salad and add a variety of fresh garden vegetables for a quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Choose your favorite cut of steak or bone-in chicken instead of boneless breasts and substitute favorite vegetables for any of the suggested ones.

And finally, a bonus recipe, since peaches are starting to show up at the local farm stands:

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (170 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

Enjoy! – TaMara



 

Summer Menus: June Week Four

All this week’s photos are from JeffreyW’s library

This week, at the bottom of the menus is a list of substitutions and ideas, save that for future weeks.

As we finish up June, there are more grilling recipes and a couple of quick and simple meals for those busy days when being in the kitchen needs to be kept to the minimum.

Here are June’s menus and recipes: June Week Four Menu (click for printable PDF)

Monday features Chicken Carbonara.  Along with a Sautéed Mushroom Salad

Thursday, Toasted Tuna Sandwiches are paired with a tasty chilled Wild Rice Salad, that can be prepared ahead of time for an easy dinner.

And Friday’s Kid Friendly recipes include Quesadillas and a sweet summer salad.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week Four Shopping List. Remember they are color coordinated to the menus, so easy to eliminate any ingredients when you skip a recipe. (You skipped a recipe?!? 🙂 )

What’s on your menu this week? Let me know in the comments if you have a question about any of the meals.

Enjoy!



Summer Menus: June Week Three

We’re partying there tonight. Bixby turned three.

Here are the menus for week three: June Menu Week Three

Highlights: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze (Thursday) Greek Grilled Potatoes (Monday) and a yummy Chocolate Orange-Cream ice cream treat (Friday).

Here are the shopping lists – remember they are color coordinated so you can easily eliminate any recipe ingredients you aren’t going to use.  June Week Three Shopping List

If you have any questions on any of the recipes, hit the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. What’s on your plate this weekend?

Have a great weekend!



 

Weekly Menu: June Week Two

Wednesday is Tomato-Pasta Salad

Sorry for the delay, as you can see here I had a big project yesterday. Continuing with our summer menu project, here are this week’s menus, recipes and shopping lists. Lots of garden fresh ingredients and grilling as summer kicks into gear.

JeffreyW has a great blueberry harvest. Perfect for Wednesday’s Blueberry-Lemon Parfait

For  the PDF of week two menus and recipes, click here: June Week Two Menus

Shopping lists are here: June Week Two Shopping List

Don’t forget the staples, here.

Monday is Cranberry Grilled Chicken and Minted Cucumbers

That’s it for this week’s menus. You can find last week’s menu, recipes and shopping list here.

What’s on your menu this week?



 

Something New For Summer: Weekly Menus

Shrimp and Pasta by JeffreyW

Wednesday’s recipe: Shrimp and Pasta

So a long time ago, before I started this blog, I ran a little business creating weekly menus for subscribers, called…you guessed it…What’s 4 Dinner Solutions. It included 30-minute recipes and complete shopping lists for weekday dinners. I found as life got busier the past few months, I began relying on my library of menus and recipes.

With that in mind, I decided that I should begin sharing them with you.

Click here for the menu and recipes for the the first week:  June Menu Week One

Jeffrey W makes the most delicious sandwiches.

Friday’s recipe: Spicy Club Sandwiches

I’ll post on Fridays so if you want to use them, you’ll have them for the weekend shopping excursions. The shopping lists are actually color coordinated with the menus so if you don’t use a menu, just cross out anything that is the same color.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week One Shopping List

Both the menus and shopping lists are PDFs you should be able to print out easily.

The shopping lists do not include pantry staples, those are here:

 

Hit the comments with any questions you might have.  I hope you enjoy! – TaMara

Perfect Standing Rib Roast

Dinner menu (left to right) Cucumber Tomato Salad, Perfect Gravy, Standing Rib Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Raspberry Salad.

This recipe came from Chef Michael Symon and I don’t think I’ve changed much, except I don’t use as much rosemary and thyme (about half). I’ve been using it for several years and every time it is perfect.

From Michael Symon on The Chew:

GARLIC & HERB CRUSTED STANDING RIB ROAST

1 standing beef rib roast (7 to 8 pounds, rack of ribs separated from roast)

4 cloves garlic (smashed and made into a paste)

2 sprigs rosemary (leaves removed and finely chopped, plus more)

4 sprigs thyme (leaves removed and finely chopped, plus more)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups red wine

1/2 cup beef stock

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Season the roast and rack of ribs with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Remove the rib roast to room temperature 1 hour prior to roasting. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

In a medium bowl, add garlic, herbs and 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, to form a loose paste. Coat the roast and ribs with the herb oil and season with more cracked black pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast every 2-3 inches to secure shape.

In a roasting pan, place the rack of ribs with the ends pointing up. Place a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the rack. Place the roast, fat-side-up inside the rack of ribs so they act as a roasting rack. Pour the wine and beef stock in to the bottom of the pan underneath the roast.

Place in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue to cook for another 1 ½- 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the roast is 125ºF for medium-rare. During the cooking process, baste the meat with the pan juices every 30 minutes. If the pan starts to get dry, add a little more stock or water.

Remove the roast to a cutting board to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Separate the ribs and thinly slice the roast. Serve with pan juices.

Tip: for ultimate flavor, season the roast and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

If you’d like some personal instruction, click here for video of Michael preparing it.



 

No Really, I’m Still Here and I’m Still Cooking: Sautéed Sausages and Pasta

I’ve been cooking up some great recipes almost daily, but finding the time to put together recipe posts has been difficult. And forget remembering to take photos. Pictured above is Easter dinner, which I did remember to snap. Mostly because as I went to cook the rib roast, I realized I have never transcribed my go-to recipe for this perfect rib roast. I will remedy that in the coming week.

We had snow today, so yesterday before I even sat down to work, I spent time cutting flowers for vases and covering up plants I didn’t want to lose. So there wasn’t a lot of time to think about dinner. Luckily, I had a few items in the frig that needed to be used, so first up for dinner:

Sautéed Sausages and Pasta

  • 1 lb sausage links – I used bratwurst this time, Italian sausages work great, too
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 oz dried spaghetti (works best with that, but if you have another style on hand, go for it)

skillet and saucepan

Slice sausages into 2 inch pieces.

Prepare pasta according to package directions, but drain when just Al Dente, you want it a bit under cooked, because it will continue to cook and soak up the sauce in the next step. Reserve the pasta water.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in skillet, reduce to medium-hi heat, add vegetables and saute until softened. Then add sausage pieces and brown. Reduce heat to medium and cover until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once sausage is cooked through, add a ladle of pasta water to the pan to deglaze and create a sauce – add more as needed – and stir until well mixed and cook on medium high for a minute or two, reduce heat. Add drained pasta. Toss and let it all cook together on low for about 3-5 minutes to let the pasta soak up the sauce. Add a bit more pasta water if needed.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and salad.

Since it was going to be cold today, I decided soup would be a great idea. I made a traditional Potato Soup (recipe here) but since I had leftover carrots and potatoes from a pot roast earlier in the week, I blended those together with the milk, omitted the flour, and made the tastiest creamy soup base. The flavors were amazing and it was perfect for a cold snowy spring day.